The Politics of Canadian-Japanese Economic Relations, 1952-1983

The Politics of Canadian-Japanese Economic Relations, 1952-1983

The Politics of Canadian-Japanese Economic Relations, 1952-1983

The Politics of Canadian-Japanese Economic Relations, 1952-1983


Japan is Canada's most important overseas trading partner, yet the backgound of this relationship is comparatively unknown to most Canadians. In order to bridge this gap, the author surveys Canadian foreign policy aims towards Japan since WWII with emphasis on the development of economic ties. He illustrates the role of major departments, ministries, diplomats, businessmen, and other leading participants and the processess by which these aims succeeded or failed.

This objective analysis will prove a valuable reference source for students, officials, bureaucrats, historians, businessmen and women, journalists, and all those interested not only in economic relations between Canada and Japan but also in the way foreign policy is formulated in Canada.


Before spelling out the aim of this book, it might be useful to clarify what it is not. This is not a book about all the phases of Canada's relations with Japan. Nor is it a historical account which attempts to detail principal events, one by one, as they occur. What the book does attempt to do is to deal with major issues in the economic sphere as they have affected the two countries since the Second World War in their relations with each other. Economic issues and objectives have dominated the bilateral relationship. Therefore, this treatment aims at explaining those issues and objectives.

Perhaps because official and formal contacts require that governments, groups, firms, and individuals gloss over disagreements in public and present an often excessively rosy view of bilateral ties, I have tried to outline clearly where genuine disagreements or disappointed hopes exist. However, I hope I have not overemphasized negative aspects, and I do not deny that cooperation and goodwill are the dominant themes in postwar relations. On the contrary, I believe that Canada-Japan ties are largely harmonious and characterized by goodwill on both sides, perhaps too much so. I believe it is better if both sides have a healthy understanding of their best interests and avoid illusions which can only produce confusion or frustration.

Cultural ties are very important, too. It is highly desirable to bring about more person-to-person or people-to-people contacts between Canada and Japan. Still, I do have doubts about the extent to which these contacts will bring any greater response from the government of Japan to Canada's trade or investment hopes. It would certainly help Canada, in its aim of greater entr6e to the Japanese market-place, for Canadian businessmen to have a better command of Japanese language, customs, and tastes. However, cul-

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